Janis Joplin on What We Settle For
October 4 is a day of conflict for me. On it, Professor McGonagall was born and Janis Joplin died. I have a relationship with both that makes me quite happy, but this is about Janis. Four memories:
- Staying at a hostel in San Sebastian, Spain, and hearing a woman singing Mercedes Benz out my window on the street below just incredibly incredibly. A capella. The way it should be.
- Driving through Oregon with my windows down and playing the same Janis playlist I'm listening to now. Since then, I've always wanted to name a character Blue and have her counting something on her fingers.
- When I moved the last of my things from Texas to Brooklyn, I came up through Port Arthur and stopped by her childhood house. It's a rough little town, a place she left but never really escaped.
- Sitting by myself in a little theater in Greenwich Village with a bottle of wine and watching a documentary about her. One of the last movies I've seen in theaters, and I almost want to leave it that way for a while longer.
Which leads back to the final interview she gave before she was found dead. I don't love it all, but I adore one of the lines:
It’s sort of like: you are what you settle for. Do you know what I mean? You’re only as much as you settle for.
Goodness, do I think about that often.